|December 1, 2016|
Prudential Skywalk Observatory
One of the best views of Boston is from the 50th floor of the Prudential Building. That's where you'll find the Skywalk Observatory - Boston's only 360 city view.
Along with the amazing view of Boston are several interactive exhibits that will inform you about the history of Boston. Some of the exhibits that you'll see when you're walking around the floor:
- Interactive Multimedia Exhibits, including a "Who wants to be an American Citizen?" Which features ten real citizenship question in a Jeopardy-type format.
- Multimedia Theater - A state-of-the-art movie theater, which continually runs two short films: "Wings Over Boston," an up-close feel of the entire city, and "Dreams of Freedom," a multimedia journey through time.
- Boston Immigration - Learn how immigrants came to Boston. See example items that people would pack in their crates as they made their journey to America.
Fun Facts about the Prudential SkyWalk
- The Prudential Tower is 750 feet tall, 150 feet wide and 178 feet long.
- The Observatory is 50 stories above ground. (740 feet)
- It takes 30 seconds, via elevator, to get to the 50-story observation. This means the elevator is traveling 24 ft/s (feet per second)
- When the Skywalk first opened on April 19, 1965, people waited in line up to four hours to get to the top.
- The ticket booth in the Prudential Mall, near Dunkin Donuts, will let you know the current visibility. In addition, you can also go up to the 50th floor and see the visibility before deciding to purchase tickets.
- When you get off of the elevator and walk to the ticket booth, the first view you see is Cambridge.
- Mt. Wachusetts is visible from the Prudential Skywalk.
- On a clear day, you can see the mountains of New Hampshire and far into the South Shore.
- There is a penny souvenir machine - bring quarters and pennies if you collect Penny Souvenirs.
- The four telescopes around the floor take 2 quarters and worth it if you would like a close up views of faraway points. There is a little step so that little ones can see through the telescope.
- The 500,000 visitor was greeted on a ceremony on September 2, 1965 - 135 days after the SkyView opened.
- In 1980, it cost $1.75 to access the Observatory.
- Prudential garage can hold 3,500 automobiles.
When to Visit
Visit in the afternoon if you looking for views/pictures of Fenway Park, Metro West and Back Bay
Visit in the morning if you want good pictures of Downtown Boston. Otherwise, you may end up seeing the Prudential shadow in your pictures.
Downtown Boston from the Skywalk Observatory at 3pm on November 11, 2016.
|December 2, 2016|
Affinity Designer Backgrounds
One of the things that you can't easily do in Affinity Designer is to add an image as a background pattern. Especially if you have a small seamless image (96 x 96) and you want to make a repeating pattern.
Lucky for me, I have OmniGraffle Professional 5.4.4. It turns out that complements very well with Affinity Designer. Using OmniGraffle I am able to create a Shape Tool and add a background image and title it. I can even scale the background repeating image so that it looks the way that I want.
First I created a shape, for that I used 568px x 266px Rectangle. I then open up the Inspector and select the Image Style. I then drag/drop an image into the placeholder. Then I select the title icon to the left of the image upload. Then I play around with the scale and opacity slider to make it look good.
Once I am satisfied that the pattern looks the way I want, I then select the shape and Copy it.
OmniGraffle has some great shape configurations.
I then switch over to Affinity Designer and Paste the shape. The Shape appears on its own layer as a vector curve object. Now I can do lots of cool things with that object.
The first thing I decided to do was create a bunch of background styles, so that I would have a library to choose from whenever I needed it. I thought it would be cool to have a category of seamless background images.
Using a small selection of background images that I had from Open Door, I was able to generate 13 background styles. Now I have a nice selection of styles to use whenever I want.
I don't know that this is the best way to create background images, but it suits my needs and it was very easy to implement.
Download the Affinity Designer Style!
If you have Affinity Designer, you can add these to your collection. Note: these images are low quality and may not look good in print.
To install this:
- Download the "Backgrounds.afstyles.zip" file and unzip it.
- Open up Affinity Designer.
- Select the Style Tab
- Click on the Panel Preferences and select 'Import Styles category'
- Find the unzip file
|December 3, 2016|
Facts about Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, the layer of tissue that surrounds many of the organs in the body. This is a rare type of cancer, but its most common form is pleural, in which it attacks the lining of the chest cavity and lungs. Most often caused by asbestos exposure, this type of cancer is aggressive and deadly, although advances in treatments are giving patients hope.
Asbestos is the Number One Risk Factor
Exactly what causes mesothelioma is not known, but there are risk factors. The most important of these is asbestos exposure. This is a natural mineral that for many years was used in nearly every construction and shipbuilding application imaginable. People who spent their careers working around asbestos likely inhaled small fibers of the mineral, which then became lodged in lung or pleural tissue, causing the damage that develops into mesothelioma in some people.
Mesothelioma is Not Always Pleural
The cancer that attacks the mesothelium most often develops in the pleura, but this is not always the case. For this rare type of cancer, even rarer are cases in which the cancer begins in the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity. And even rarer than that is pericardial mesothelioma, the cancer of the lining around the heart.
Mesothelioma Has a Long Latency Period
The latency period for mesothelioma is defined as the time between the first exposure to asbestos and the diagnosis. For mesothelioma, this period is long. Studies have found that the latency period may be anywhere from 14 to 72 years, with the average being closer to 50 years. There are some important reasons for this long period of time, including the fact that this type of cancer is difficult to diagnose. The symptoms of pleural mesothelioma mimic those of more common conditions and it is difficult to distinguish between lung cancer and mesothelioma, even at the cellular level.
Survival Times are Short for Mesothelioma
With such long latency periods, many people diagnosed with mesothelioma don't get the diagnosis until the condition is advanced and difficult to treat. As a result, many people get a poor prognosis. When diagnosed during stage I, which is rare, the median survival time is less than two years. At stage IV, the most advanced state in which the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the median survival time is just 12 months.
There Have Been Advances in Treatment
Researchers have been working on exciting new treatment options for mesothelioma and other cancers that are difficult to treat. One area of study is the use of nanoparticles to deliver medication or gene therapy directly to cancer cells. Results have been promising in this line of study, but more work needs to be done before nanoparticles can be used to treat and maybe even save patients with mesothelioma.
|December 4, 2016|
Waiting at Limited Supply Sales
I have some practical tips if you're ever in the case of having to wait for a store opening to buy some products. This is most common during Black Friday / Saturday. It can also occur when a store announces that they have stock of items in high demand.
Never know when it's Black Friday
Earlier this week Toys R Us announced that they had limited stock available of Hatchimals and NES Classic Edition. These are two of the hottest toys of the 2016 Shopping season. They would have available limited number of stock on December 4th, 2016.
Social Media spread the word about the new inventory, and everyone got word that Sunday was the day to get the products. Nobody knows if they would be available again in retail stores this Christmas season.
You could get Hatchimals and NES Classic Edition on eBay and Craigslist, but you would be paying a premium for them:
People were buying Hatchimals and NES Classic Edition and reselling on eBay and Craigslist at a high mark up.
When I heard of the opportunity of getting a Hatchimal, I really wanted to jump on the opportunity. I knew that there would be a huge line. I figured, that I I was going to go, I would get their super early to ensure that I would get my hands on a Hatchimal. The doors were scheduled to open at 8am.
I arrived at Toys R Us at 3:24 am and I was the 8th person in line. The first person arrived in line at 7:30 pm.
I took notes on what people brought, and what seemed to work while waiting for the doors to open 4 hours later:
Essential Items to Bring
Note, most of these focus on the cold weather because, in New England, that usually when these limited supply sales occur.
- Folding Chair - Something comfortable to sit on. If you don't have a chair, some people resorted to flipping over a shopping cart and sat on that.
- Blanket - Keep warm!
- Umbrella, Hat, Gloves - The Touch Screen Gloves are very useful.
- USB Charger - Useful if you have any electronic devices.
- Book or other Entertainment item - Keep yourself busy while waiting. Some people brought books.
- Smart Phone - One person left his phone at home and really regretted it.
- Keep Drinks and Food to a minimum. You don't want to leave to go to the bathroom.
- Bring a Buddy, and you can tag team between waiting in line and warming up in the car.
- Listen to the information provided by the store employees. You may want to share some information later on.
- Communicate with Social Media. Find out what the lines are at other locations.
- Talk to people around you, as you may learn something interesting about the sale or other items for sale.
- Bring an extra chair or blanket. You may help someone that didn't come prepared.
|December 5, 2016|
The Tomorrowland Speedway is the opportunity for kids to show that they can drive a car. You can experience the glory of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as you drive your own Indy 500-type race car on a guided track to the victory flag.
Guests need to be 32" to be a rider on the Speedway, and 54" to be able to reach the pedal. Children under the age of 12 months should not ride. Expectant mothers should not ride.
Tomorrowland Speedway Fast Facts
- Opened: October 1, 1971 (Walt Disney World Opening Day)
- Ride length: 4 minutes, 45 seconds
- Track Length: 2,112 feet ( 644 Meters) about 7 football fields long!
- Max Speed: 7 Miles per Hour (11 Kilometers per hour)
- Typical Ride Wait time: 20 - 30 minutes
- Inclement Weather: First ride to close at any sign of rain.
- The Speedway is not a bumper car ride.
- Each car has a spring front and rear bumper to prevent damages to the cars
- The line for the speedway snakes across a pedestrian bridge to the ride’s loading areas. For a shorter wait, turn right on the bridge and head to the first loading area rather than continuing to the second one.
- There are six cars lined up on each side of the loading area.
- The Victory Circle is the left of the pit area. You'll see a red car in the circle. Car #22 is the winning car.
- There are 33 cars on the Speedway
- There are five turns and one overpass on the Speedway.
- After you go under the tunnel if you look to the left you can see Cinderella Castle.
- You'll see a mirror on the left as you exit the tunnel. It's to help the cast member on the bridge see what's going on in the tunnel.
- The half-way point is just before you go over the bridge, you'll see a cast member there.
- The announcer voice you hear is Tom Carnegie - a longtime announcer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Disney doesn't want users to bump cars with large yellow signs and repeated messages just before the finish line.
|December 6, 2016|
Cheesecake Factory at the Prudential Mall
This past weekend we had a very interesting experience at the Cheesecake Factory at the Prudential Center Mall in Boston, Massachusetts.
We had a rather large party -13 people. We stopped by for lunch before heading to the Holiday Pops at Symphony Hall. (We made reservations ahead of time and indicated that there were 2 people in the party that had gluten free allergy.)
When we placed our order we told the server, multiple times, that our daughter has celiac and that her food needed to be gluten free. In addition, my wife also placed a gluten free order. My daughter orders a pasta with four cheese.
When the meals came to the table, we asked the server if both dishes were gluten free. He indicated that they were.
My daughter lunch looked a little strange as the sauce appeared to be thicker than normal. Typically gluten-free pasta sauce is a bit watery because you can't add flour to thicken it up.
My wife started eating hers for a bit and then noticed that a macaroni was in her dish. We know from experience that the Cheesecake factory only has one style of gluten free pasta. It was at that point we realized that they cooked the pasta in the same water as regular pasta. This would result in serious cross contamination.
You can see the Macaroni that was mix in with the Rotini. We have learned from past experiences that Rotini is the only gluten free pasta that the Cheesecake factory has. So as soon as we saw the Macaroni we knew something wasn't right.
We immediately asked for the manager.
When the manager arrived we informed him of what we found. He was very apologetic. He informed us that there was nothing on the food order that it was an allergy. (Turns out we had a new server, which explained other problems we had with other dishes.) The manager offered to re-cook the pasta and make sure that they used new water. We told him that only our daughter dish needed to be fixed.
About 10 minutes later, the same server came by with a new plate. This was a bit surprising since I would have expected that the floor manager to bring the dish to the table, as a sign of taking ownership and responsibility. The sauce looked a bit watery than before which is what we would expect.
I thought that the pasta was cooked pretty quickly. ( I can't even boil water and cook pasta at home in less than 10 minutes) My daughter said the food tasted good and looked better than before.
The Cheesecake factory did make some adjustments on the bill, we don't know exactly since we didn't pay for the meal.
We sent an email to the Cheesecake Factory corporate offices and a couple of days later we received a call from the Cheesecake Factory. We explained the situation and the concerns. They said that they would look into the issue and would send us a gift card for our troubles.
Not exactly sure that we would go back to the Cheesecake factory.
|December 7, 2016|
Shopper's World Track
On Sunday morning, while waiting in front of Toy R Us, we saw a person running around the Framingham Shopper's World parking lot several times. That got us wondering what is the total distance running around the parking lot.
Thanks to Google Maps, I was able to figure it out:
Thanks to Google Maps for the measurement.
Total area: 740,366.42 ft (68,782.29 m)
Total distance: 3,873.50 ft (1.18 km) or (.73 Miles)
If you were doing a 5k, you would need to run a little more than 4 times around the parking lot. The good thing about this is that the parking lot is very flat. The bad part about organizing a 5k here is that you would need a lot of barriers to prevent people from cutting across the parking lot.
That guy that was running, he kept a really good pace, and to be up before the crack of dawn...well that's dedication.
Better 5K Location
If you're planning a 5K race in Framingham, the better place would be near the Cushing Memorial Park.
The race would start on Dr. Harvey L Cushing Way and the runners would head towards Winter Street. The would take a right on Winter and head down over the river and then a right on Maple Street. At the end of the street, they would take a left on Franklin St, then a right on Maple Street. At the end of the street, they would pass by the Minutemen Monument and down Main Street, then a right onto Walnut Street. After passing Bowditch Field they take a right on to Mount Wayte Ave and head back to the parking lot at Cushing Park.
This is a standard 5k route and it's a pretty much level field, with some elevation on Mount Wayte and Winter Street.
Here's a map of the route:
|December 8, 2016|
Holiday Pops at Symphony Hall
For many Bostonian's the Holiday Pops is a popular annual tradition, this year marks the 43rd year of celebrating Christmas music. Tickets are extremely hard to get, and usually sell out within hours of going on sale.
The show features many popular Christmas songs, as Keith Lockhart conducts the orchestra and encourages the crowd to sing-a-long. The crowd favorite was the 12 days of Christmas and the singers add a bit of humor to the classic song.
We sat on the first balcony near the stage and enjoyed the music and watching Keith Lockhart. We highly recommend sitting between rows 1 - 20 on the first balcony. The nice thing about the balcony is that kids can see the performance because there's no obstruction view. If you sit at the tables on the orchestra floor you can't see the all the orchestra clearly.
Camera and recording equipment are prohibited in Symphony Hall during concerts. However, there were plenty of guests that were taking pictures of the performance using their smartphones.
View from the First Balcony, Seat 10
Fun Facts about the Boston Symphony Hall
- Located at 301 Massachusetts Ave
- Symphony Hall opened on October 15, 1900 with a performace of Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis"
- The Building was Designed by McKim, Mead and White
- McKim, Mead and White also designed Boston Public Library five years earlier
- Symphony Hall was the first American Hall to have scientific acoustic planning.
- Harvard Professor Wallace C. Sabine did the acoustical research
- President Eisenhower spoke at the National Council of Catholic Women in 1954
- 1,000 Navy Inducts were sworn in at Symphony Hall in 1942
- Holiday Pops started in 1973 and was first called "A Pops Christmas Party."
- Arthur Fiedler was the first conductor to lead Holiday Pops.
- The hall has served other types of events such as civic observances as various conventions, political meetings, commencements, inaugurations, religious worship, debates, flower shows, fashion shows, automobile shows, ball and banquets.
Event Parking at the Prudential Garage
The Holiday Pops is considered a Special Event and qualifies for discount parking. This means that the Prudential garage is the best place to park for the Holiday Pops.
The parking situation at the Prudential has recently changed to now include automatic checkout. I inquired to the Prudential parking staff on how to take advantage of the discount parking with the new changes.
This is the response I received:
Make sure when you exit the garage to call over the attendant to get your parking discount. Failure to do so will result in a higher parking rate.
Prudental Garage Special Event Rate
Valid for evening and weekend events only, at Symphony Hall, Berklee, Huntington Theater, Jordan Hall
Special $18.00 Event Rate
Enter after 2:00 p.m. Mon-Fri
Enter after 7:00 a.m. Weekends
Exit by 3:00 a.m.
Customer must surrender ticket event stub at garage exit
Symphony Hall is a 5-minute walk from the Prudential Center.
|December 9, 2016|
Cheat Sheet Application
One of the nice things about the Macintosh applications is that developers will assign keyboard shortcuts to common applications. After performing certain actions, you begin to learn that using the short cuts is a quick way to get things done.
After a while you begin to learn some of the fundamental shortcuts that are in most applications:
|⌘||w||Close Application Window|
Apple has a macOS Human Interface Guideline that has specific recommended keyboard shortcuts that developers should use.
Application Shortcut Help
Learning application specific shortcuts can be tricky. One way is to pull down every menu and see what shortcuts are available. Some applications do list the menu and command shortcuts in their help section.
A really cool way is to use Cheat Sheet by Media Atelier. Here's how they describe how CheatSheet works:
Once installed, go into any application and hold the ⌘ key for a couple of seconds and a Window will pop up to show all the Menu shortcuts that are available:
CheatCheat view of BBEdit Shortcuts.
Once you let go of the ⌘ key the window goes away.
Note that this only shows Menu based tips. Some applications will have hotkeys, for example, Pixelmator has hotkeys to select various tools in the toolbar. For those you'll have to access the application specific help pages.
Did you know that you could print out the tips?
On the bottom of the CheatSheet window is a Cog icon, click on it and you'll see a Print option. You can print out a copy, or create a PDF cheatsheet.
Additional Shortcut Reference
There are tons of cool keyboard shortcut guides, these are very useful to print out and keep by your computer. Spending a few minutes learning the various keys can save you lots of time when your working on a project.
Here are some very cool Shortcut Guides that I have found.
|December 10, 2016|
How dangerous is your Career?
For many, a career is a way of life. It's an aspect of our lives that is required in order to support ourselves and our families. It's an important factor in determining the types of purchases we can make, where we will live, and what types of things we can purchase. A career is one of the most important aspects of an individual's life, so choosing the best career for your lifestyle and interests makes a huge difference when considering how successful and happy you will be within your career.
For some, a career can be physical work which requires strength and persistence. Manual labor can be a lifestyle in which some enjoy. It allows them to build things, potentially exercise, and spend their time moving around and engaging in physical movements. For others, a non-manual occupation may be the best option since it allows them the ability to think logically, enjoy time indoors, and doesn't require a large amount of physical work. Most of these employees will find themselves working in front of a computer screen, or potentially traveling to and from various business meetings and sales presentations. This may be the most suitable career for many.
Regardless of the option you choose, there are things that can be dangerous, or potentially hazardous to your health when working within each of the career options.
Physical Occupation Hazards
Physical occupations may present the most obvious dangers because of the nature and scope of the work required of employees. For these types of occupations, employees are regularly required to have the ability to lift and move heavy or large objects. With this being said, it's important that the employee is in good physical shape, and has the strength and ability to move items around without any issues. Furthermore, it's important they do not have any pre-existing health conditions that may limit their ability to perform the scope of the work required for the position.
These types of options may also require the employee to spend time outdoors,with the potential to be exposed to mother nature's creations. With this being said, it's important that physical employees have the knowledge and ability to keep themselves safeguarded from weather conditions and extreme heat or cold temperatures. Wearing jackets when it's cold outside, or keeping themselves dry by using ponchos when it rains are some of the common practices one should take when working outdoors. For construction workers, it's important they safeguard their body from harm by wearing protective hard hats and safety equipment to prevent any threat for injuries while on the job. OSHA guidelines have been set forth to require safeguard practices, however, it's important that these types of employees remember these practices at all times.
Non-Physical types of occupations tend to have a much lower associated risk factor when weighing the differences between physical occupations and non-physical. When reflecting upon these types of occupations, many individuals may have a more difficult time determining some of the risk factors that come alongside these types of occupations. However, there are a few risks that should be discussed.
Employees working desk jobs, or office positions may require a great deal of time to be spent in front of a computer screen. As a result, there is a great deal of time spent staring at a computer screen monitor on a daily basis. After several weeks, an individual's eyesight may need to be re-evaluated as vision ability can change based upon this type of work. Furthermore, sitting in the same position for an extended amount of time doesn't allow the body to circulate blood throughout the body as quickly. It's important to stretch regularly, and take short breaks from time to time. Additionally, individuals working a desk or office job may find themselves having a sloped posture, or curvature of the back, from their position in front of the computer. This can lead to serious back issues down the road. Your posture while sitting in front of a computer should always be remembered.
Weighing Your Options
There are plenty of pros and cons that come about from each type of position. Though some may be more apparent or obvious, it's important to consider how your health and well-being could be negatively or positively impacted by the type of occupation you choose. Weighing your options, and taking careful consideration into your lifestyle and what's most important to you is the first step when considering if a job is right for you. In what ways can you improve upon your current occupational practices to improve your safety and reduce your risk?
|December 11, 2016|
Wrist Information Center.
In the 1980s there was a catalog parody of the LL Bean catalog. It was a book called "Items from Our Catalog" and featured a lot of weird things.
When I was in college, I took interest in one of the things called "Find-the-Function" Wrist Information Center. I photocopied the page and had it on my bulletin board in my dorm.
I don't recall the reason why I picked this item, of everything in the catalog. It was a pretty weird product.
A quick read of the product description, and all I could think about the Apple Watch. Here's a scan copy of the document, complete with tape and all...
You can find the "Items from Our Catalog" book on eBay and Use Bookstores, it makes for a funny read.
|December 12, 2016|
The Pirate of the Caribbean is a fun ride where users get on a boat and enjoy a voyage back in time when pirates would rule the seas.
The "surprise" part of the ride is the two waterfalls in the beginning of the ride. The drop is done in complete darkness. You may get wet depending on how many people are in the boat.
Warning: Do not place bags on the floor in the boar, the bag will most likely get wet.
Popular sites you will encounter include:
- Pirates Grotto
- The Fort
- Town Square
- Burning City
- The Dungeon
Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Fun Facts
- Open in Disney World on December 15, 1973. (806 Days after the park opened)
- The boat cruise last 9-minutes long.
- The waterfalls on Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland and Disney World are slight. There are waterfalls on both rides. However, the waterfall at Disneyland is longer and therefore broken into two consecutive drops.
- The drop at Disneyland is necessary as most of the ride is located on the other side of the railroad tracks that surround the park.
- The fog that drifts out from behind the boat in the "Battle" area. It is the Mee Fog effect. Water is shot through a pin size hole at 1000PSI. The force of the water is so fast that the water condenses - just like real fog.
- The effect of the cannon ball splashing the water is done with the air cannon. Basically, it's compressed air under the water.
- Pirates was the first ride in the world to end with an exit directly into a gift shop. Many rides now end this way.
- The Pirate Ship that you see after the drop is called the "Wicked Wench."
- The Pirate that you see selling things at the auction, was at one time Abe Lincoln.
- The Mellowmen is the group that sings the "Yo Ho (Pirates Life for Me)." You can download the song on iTunes.
- Mellowmen also sang Haunted Mansion's Grim Grinning Ghost, The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room
- The fire on Pirates is made by shining lights onto a special, moving cloth.
- Near the end of the ride the white hair prisoner in a replica of a long time janitor that worked at Walt Disney Productions.
- The Cocker Spaniel dog that is holding the key by the jail is Walt Disney's Dog. You'll see the same dog as the Caretaker dog in the Haunted Mansion, Small World and on one of the Murals in the Cinderella's Castle
George the Pirates of the Caribbean Ghost
At the Pirates of the Caribbean in Disney World, there is "resident ghost" named George. He was an Imagineer that built many of the tracks for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. He died on the ride when a beam collapsed on him.
Cast Members at Disney World have confirmed the story of George the Ghost. Over the years Cast Member have blamed him for various ride failures.
George is allegedly a friendly ghost. When you are on the ride, make sure to say Hi to George.
From As you pass the ship where the captain is brandishing his sword and firing cannonballs over your head, his shadow is thrown up on the mainsail. As the captain turns, his shadow turns into you-know-who. Especially blatant at Disneyland it's also effective at Walt Disney World. Although it's not a really clear Mickey when seen from the front. The "ears" are more like tall skinny humps on top of a roughly round shadow. At one point in the sequence, the humps get a little wider and the whole thing looks reasonably like a Mickey. The Mickey is much clearer when you look at the other side of the sail. As you go past the sail continue watching and the elongated shapes that are somewhat suspect in the original shadow become a well formed Mickey head on the reverse side of the sail. Timing is key. The pirate is a moving figure, so his shadow only makes a hidden Mickey when he turns the right way.
In the Treasure room right as you are exiting the room there are a lot of pearl necklaces on the ground on the left. If you are riding the ride, it may just seem like a clump of pearls. If you raise your head a little, some of the Pearls are in a Mickey. It is right as you are about to go into the exit area for the ride.
In the Pirate ship scene right before the drop. If you look at the background behind the ship you'll see a set of clouds that resemble the famous Mickey Mouse symbol
|December 13, 2016|
Uno's Better Tasting Gluten Free Pizza
We enjoy our traditional Friday pizza. Usually, we eat at home, but every once in a while we'll go out and enjoy a pizza with friends. UNOs is a fun place to meet up with friends. They have a lot of different gluten free options and the food is pretty good.
UNOs has had a gluten free pizza for a long time and it was so-so. It wouldn't be the first place we would go for pizza.
Things has changed as they suddenly got serious with the gluten free crust and the pizza is amazing. It's so good that you forget that it's a gluten-free crust.
This is from UNO's press release from a couple of weeks ago:
Uno Pizzeria & Grill, well regarded for its gluten-free menu options, has entered into an exclusive partnership with Venice Bakery to introduce a gluten-free pizza crust that will have customers wondering if it's the real deal!
"This new gluten-free crust is so good, most people can't tell the difference from our regular crust," says Louie Psallidas, Uno's President, and CEO. "Unlike many gluten-free pizza crusts, it has a raised edge and the bold, flavorful taste that Uno's pizzas are known for."
Los Angeles-based Venice Bakery is one of the largest family-owned, gluten-free pizza crust manufacturers in the United States.
The Framingham UNOs has had the gluten free pizza for a while as we noticed the change in September. Here's a picture of the pizza from our last visit:
|December 14, 2016|
Winter Street Bridge
The Winter Street Bridge in Framingham, Massachusetts is set to close so that a new bridge can be installed. The new bridge is scheduled to be completed by September 2017, just in time for the new school year.
The bridge handles about 8,000 cars a day, according to a traffic count done last April.
Most of the people that use the bridge come are coming from Ashland and are heading towards Route 9. Some popular places are Joseph P. Keefe Regional Technical High School, and Framingham's Barbieri Elementary School and Framingham State University.
The new bridge will be wider than the current bridge, which will allow for turning lanes at the Waverly and Fountain Street intersections. The goal of the new bridge will be to reduce traffic congestion at Winter Street’s intersections with Fountain Street and Waverly Street.
A pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the project.
Accelerated Bridge Program
The MassDOT Accelerated Bride Program is a major infrastructure investment to fix all the high-risk bridges in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Through October 1, 2016 the MassDOT Accelerated Bridge Program has advertised 200 construction contracts with a combined construction budget valued at $2.45 billion.
According to the active project listing provided by the MassDOT the Bid amount for this project is $6,649,130. The Construction Contractor for this project is Northern Construction Service, LLC.
The original plans, from MassDOT, had the bridge to be closed 14 months from June 2015 to Aug. 2016. The project was delayed due to planning issues - including work on another bridge on Winter Street.
Fountain Street will see an increase in traffic. Drivers from Ashland will be better off using the Fountain Street exit on 135, near the Best Friends Pet Care. Drivers from Downtown Framingham would be best to use Fountain Street, near the Ron's Tire and Service and Walgreens.
Both of these routes will make avoiding the traffic around Winter Street a bit easier.
Winter Street Bridge 2013
On June 10, 2013, the Winter Street Bridge over the Sudbury River closed for repairs. This was the first time in 83 years that the road was closed to repair that bridge.
|December 15, 2016|
Henry and Paint
At the corner of Dartmouth Street and Stuart Street is one of the entrances to the Copley Place. Over the past year, many commuters have had to use this entrance to access the Bay Bay station from Copley Place due to the constructions of another entrance closer to the station.
In front of this entrance is an art display featuring two horses.
Henry and Paint
The two horses that are in the area in front of Copley Plaza are named Henry and Paint. Both of them have a plaque underneath them.
There is a plaque underneath both horses and they both have the following inscription:
The horses are made of cast bronze armature using traditional lost way process, with overlapping sheets of copper then welded on a bronze armature.
The two-pieces abstract equestrian sculpture is the artwork of known "constructivist" Deborah Butterfield. The sculptor has focused on horses for over 20 years and has never made any use of drawings or sketches. Although, the artist is not captivated with mimicking any certain aspect of the horse, be the way she carefully chooses her materials she suggests some of the most delicate and surprising characteristics of the horse.
The artist born in San Diego, CA on May 7, 1940, makes use of two important ideas in art: unity and variety. These two principles serve as a fitting compliment for the centerpiece of the mixed-use complex entrance.
The plaque also gives the dimension of the two horses:
|Paint||1987 Bronze & Copper||86"h x 118"w x 36"d|
|Henry||1987 Bronze & Copper||89"h x 94"w x 43"d|
Future of the Copley Place Entrance
The future of "Henry" and "Paint" is uncertain, as Simon Property Group planned to build a 52-story tower at the corner of Dartmouth Street and Stuart Street.
Boston Redevelopment Agency approved of the 52-story tower on May 14, 2015. The 52-story tower was due to include 542 condos and apartments as well as retail and had been a long, long time planning.
In October 2016, Simon Property Group halted any forward progress of the new tower due to rising construction costs and concerns over the rising supply of luxury housing.
|December 16, 2016|
LaunchBar Keyboard Shortcuts
Here's a list of all the default Keyboard Shortcuts that are in the LaunchBar application:
Typing these shortcuts will update the particular Index category.
I am working on a cool keyboard graphic. Will be up soon!
|December 17, 2016|
A "blast from the past," this is from TidBits #259 (January 17, 1995)
In case your wondering, yes this is famous Peter Lewis - the author of Stairways Software's Keyboard Maestro!
I am surprised that Epson/HP hasn't come up with this yet. This would seem like a perfect product to be announces on April 1st.
|December 18, 2016|
iMovie Swoosh Video Overlay
I created four-wave or swoosh graphics that can add a nice touch to any iMovie videos. These are all available in the 1920 x 1080 format.
In this package are the following graphics:
- Black Gradient
- Red Gradient
- White Gradient
Download the Zip file that has the graphics
These are perfect if you're looking for a lower third graphic. You can simply use these and add text in front of the images.
iMovie Integration Instructions
Easy steps to apply to any iMovie project:
- From any iMovie Project, drag and drop the Swish onto the location of the track that you wish to use.
- Select the dragged image and in the Video Overlay settings, make sure that cutaway is selected.
- You can stretch out the image to last as long as you wish.
- Then add the text track over the Video Overlay.
|December 19, 2016|
Longest Ride in the Kingdom
I was wondering what are the longest rides at the three major parks in Disney World. (I intentionally excluded the Animal Kingdom as we won't be going there on our next trip.)
These are actual rides and not shows or entertainment areas such as Tom Sawyer Island. Most shows last roughly 25 minutes. Entertainment area times may vary depend on the interest in the area.
|The Great Movie Ride||19 minutes||Disney Studios|
|Splash Mountain||18 minutes||Magic Kingdom|
|Spaceship Earth||16 minutes||Epcot|
|Mission: SPACE Green||15 minutes||Epcot|
|The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror||15 minutes||Disney Studios|
|it's a small world 14 minutes||Magic Kingdom|
The Astros Orbiter and Dumbo the Flying Elephant have the same ride duration. (1.5 Minutes) Which is kind of interesting because they are basically the same type of ride, they have a different outer shell.
|December 20, 2016|
Betty Crocker Gluten free Cookies
We just notice something on Betty Crocker Gluten free packaging. On the 2017 packaging, they no longer have box tops.
We noticed this as we recently purchased multiple boxes and noticed one of them didn't have a box top on it anymore. The box that didn't have a box top was a newer one.
What are Box Tops for Education?
Box Tops are a way for schools to earn rewards for school supplies. Simply purchase a product with a box top, clip the top and give it to your school. For every Box Top you clip, your child's school will receive 10 cents.
Box Top 20th Anniversary
This past September marked the 20th anniversary of the Box Top program by General Mills. They celebrated by coming out with a new mobile app that makes it easy to find products that have Box Tops.
The App allows you to find all the bonus Box Tops - so that you can maximize your box top contribution. This is perfect if you child is in some type of contest at school.
The app features bonus Box Tops offers from participating brands and retailers. Users can select offers, purchase the products and scan their receipt to get electronic credit for their schools.
Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cookies
The Better Crocker Gluten Free Cookies are great for school. We made them for a Polar Express reading that they were doing at my daughter's school. The kids love the cookies and nobody could tell they were gluten free.
Several teachers really enjoyed them and they also couldn't tell that they were gluten-free.
The trick to cooking them is to use parchment paper. They don't burn on the bottom when you have parchment paper on the cookie sheet.
|December 21, 2016|
Did you know that the town of Framingham once had 2 airports. Between 1920 and 1942, there were two airfields in Framingham. The field names were State Musterfield and Gould Airport.
State Musterfield - 1920 - 1931
- Airport was located between Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and Fuller Middle School
- A heliport serving the Massachusetts State Police Headquarters.
- There is a monument at the State Police Headquarters for those that served in the First World War.
- The airport was for government use only.
- The most notable event happened in October, 1921, when it became the first landing point for Airmail in New England. (Washington DC -> Framingham)
- Airport was in service between 1920 and 1931.
- Airport stopped operating after the town tried to buy the land from the state.
Gould Airport - 1930 - 1942
- Located on Western Ave. near the location of the ADESA (Auto Auction Dealer)
- Located on Gould Farm
- Dedicated on November 8-9, 1930
- 10,000 people attended the dedication
- It was at the dedication where many people from Massachusetts got their first experience being in an airplane.
- 2,800-foot Runway (North and South)
- 1,500-foot Runway (East and West)
- The airfield was force to close in 1942 because of World War 2 as All civilian airfields within 25 miles of the coast were forced to cease operations.
- After the war, the town were in the plans to buy the land to make it a municipal airport, but were side-step when Teddy Gould sold the land to General Motors.
Last Aviation Death in Framingham
This Christmas marks the 80th anniversary of the last person to die at the Framingham Airport (Gould Airport). Lloyd George Wallace (age 21) died while flying his plane on December 25, 1936.
According to various news reports at the time:
On Christmas Morning Lloyd Wallace went out on his airplane and flew over his parent's house (21 Speen Street, Natick MA). He waved to his family and friends who were at the house. After spending a few hours flying around, he returned to the airport, drove to his parent's house and enjoyed a Christmas meal.
After dinner, he returned to his airplane for another flight. However, shortly after takeoff, the plane went into a tailspin at 100 feet in the air. The plane crashed to the ground near the airport. He was taken to the Framingham Union Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Further investigation found that the cause of the crash might have been low fuel. As the plane was going higher in altitude, gravity was preventing the low fuel from going into the engine.
Lloyd George Wallace was buried at Pine Hill Cemetery in Sherborn Massachusetts.
|December 22, 2016|
David Ortiz Bridge
In October 10 2016, the City of Boston named the bridge between Fenway Park and Kenmore Square the David Ortiz bridge. The bridge was formally known as the "Brookline Avenue Bridge."
Who is David Oriz
David Ortiz sign to the Boston Red Sox on January 22, 2003. In a few short years he became the most important clutch hitter for the Boston Red Sox. He is regarded as one of the best clutch hitters of all time, Ortiz had 11 career walk-off home runs during the regular season and 2 during the postseason.
He became the MVP of the 2013 World Series by getting the team focus on winning.
Most people are familiar with the bridge they probably walked on it going to a baseball game at Fenway Park.
The city of Boston wanted to make a big deal of the bridge so they put up four bridge signs. The signs are located on each end of the bridge.
There are several good photo opportunities of the 'Ortiz Bridge' sign. There a great opportunity with the sign, Fenway Park and the Prudential building. The best opportunity is crossing the Brookline Ave at Fenway Park and taking a picture with the landmark Citgo Sign.
Great shot of the Ortiz sign and the Citgo Sign in Kenmore Square.
After you cross the bridge, there is a bonus sign just as you get down the stairs. The sign is in the window at a perfect height for selfies.
The best way to get to the bridge is to catch the Green Line to Kenmore Square and walk to Fenway Park. The signs for the 'David Ortiz' bridge are very large and you won't miss it!
|December 23, 2016|
Snappy Screen Capture Tool
Early this year, I reviewed several screen captue tool; Capo and TechSmith Snagit.
Recently I became aware of Snappy Screen Capture Tool by Nextwave SRL. The tool takes snapshots that always stays on top, has some annotation tools. The screenshots can be shared using various built-in tools - including the option to share a link with a password and set a destruct timer.
Easy Install and Use
You can install the application from the Mac App store for free.
Once installed, simply type Shift+Command+2 to take screenshots. The initial capture works the same way that the built-in screen capture does, select the area that you want to capture. You can also press the SPACE BAR to capture the current window.
After you Capture the image, the image stays on your screen. If you right click on the captured screen you have several options to modify the screen capture: Brush, Text, Cursor, Eraser, Quick Draw.
The Snaps library is a great place to find all the previous snaps. You'll find images are sorted by:
- Time - Last 24 Hours, Last 7 Days, and Last 30 Days
- Shared - SnappyApp, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Imgur, and Slack
- Apps - A list of all the different Apps that were active when you took a screen capture.
- Devices - Snappy can easily be configured to be synchronize with the iCloud. The Devices allows you to see which snaps were taken on various devices.
In addition, you can search the entire library by the capture title.
Snappy is a good general replacement tool for the built-in screen capture in Mac OS X. You have a lot more powers to what to do with a screen capture immediately after you take it. You don't need to open up any third party application to make modifications to your image.
There are some functions that are missing that are available in other screen capture tools:
- Timed Screenshots
- Record Video
- Arrow annotation
If you're looking for a simple replacement tool for Apple's Screen Capture than Snappy would be it. However, if screen capture is an essential tool to doing your job, then I would highly recommend using TechSmith Snagit.
|December 24, 2016|
If you get a call from (716) 210-9393 it's American Home Security. An automated machine greets you. Apparently, a human doesn't have to deal with the all the hang ups.
Automation Bleep Sound
You can tell that it's going to be some type of automation system because as soon as you say, "Hello" you'll hear a bleep sound.
Yes, the bleep tells you that an automated system dialed your number. You are the winner of the lucky phone number lottery.
The number is located in Pendleton, NY, and there is no American Home Security office in Pendleton, NY. This is clearly a scam or phone bait type of call.
The system tries to pick a "local" number with the hope you would answer it. I believe a lot of these "local" numbers were old AOL modem dial-in access points.
Time to Play!
I like to mess with their "Automation" process a bit. As soon as I hear the bleep sound I know that it's a scam waiting to happen.
Here's a brief transcript of a past call.
Caller: "This is American Home Security, how are you doing?"
If you get them to hang up, the system may reject your number from future calls. Then again, maybe they will keep trying until they win.
Caller: "Are you the Homeowner?"
Caller: "Do you own your home?"
Me: "We are borrowing it"
I try to use words that they don't expect. I do this to see if I can confuse the automation system.
Every once in a while it might be hard to determine if the caller is a human or a machine, I have a script for that.
Caller: "Are you the Homeowner?"
Me: "Wow, there was a big storm going by your area, did you loose power"
Caller: "I am sorry, Are you the Homeowner?"
|December 25, 2016|
January 2017 Blog Schedule
Merry Christmas 2016!
There will be a slight change up to the Blogging schedule in January. Here’s my proposed January 2017 line up:
|Monday||Disney||Tips and tricks about various rides and attractions around Walt Disney World|
|Tuesday||Google Chrome Tips||Some practical tips and tricks with the Chrome browser.|
|Wednesday||Affinity Templates||Creative design ideas for Affinity Designer or Affinity Photo.|
|Thursday||Boston||Boston is a historical city, learn some background information on unique sites to visit.|
|Friday||Macintosh||Various tips and tricks that I have learned about using the Macintosh. Every once in a while I'll profile some productive software or hardware that is very cool.|
|Saturday||Gluten Free||Personal experiences of eating gluten free with a 5-year-old in New England.|
|Sunday||Anything Goes||Open topic! I usually find something interesting to post which, I believe, my audience would enjoy.|
Framingham on Hiatus
I have decided to retire the Framingham content for a bit as I would like to do some additional research before posting any content. I would expect that regular Framingham posting to resume sometime in February.
|December 26, 2016|
George Washington Beer Mug
Inside the Walt Disney's Hall of Presidents are several artifacts that are loaned to the Walt Disney Company. Many of these are from Presidents libraries.
Once such items are the Original Beer Mug that was once own by President George Washington. The sign reads:
French porcelain, enumel, gift
In George Washington's time, mugs like this on were used to drink large quantities of fermented alcoholic beverages, including gin, beer, and cider. According to family lore, Washington use this mug every day to drink cider with his midday meal.
Coursidy of the Mount Vernan Ladies Association
Gift of John Morgan, 1979
George Washington was President from April 30, 1789 - March 4, 1797. Which means that this mug was most likely used while he was the first President of the United States. You can find the mug by white bookcase to the right as you walk in.
Ride Closure Notice
The Hall of Presidents will be closed will be closed for refurbishment from January 17 through June 29, 2017. During this period they will add a new Donald Trump animatronic to the hall.
|December 27, 2016|
Wine is gluten-free because wine is made from grapes. The Celiac Disease Foundation says all fruits are gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease to consume. Champagne and sparkling wines are also made from grapes and gluten-free.
This new year’s eve your safe to enjoy your glass of Dom Perignon, and not be concern about gluten.
My soon to be six-year-old daughter will have to wait for another 15 years (2031) to enjoy her first champagne.
Did You Know:
That in order for a bottle to be called Champagne it must come from the Champagne region of France, otherwise its just sparkling white wine.
Massachusetts, Gluten and Alcoholic Beverages
In Massachusetts, bars are excused from highlighting alcoholic beverages that contain gluten ingredients. Many of the “higher end” type of bars will have a category to highlight which items are gluten free, This is from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Frequently Asked Questions:
Are allergens in distilled spirits and alcoholic beverages required to be disclosed?
No. Distilled spirits or wine, in themselves, are not known to present a risk. Allergens are not in distilled beverages as there are no proteins left for them to be attached to. If a bar area has a food menu, it would be required to post the allergen statement on its bar menu….
|December 28, 2016|
Framingham's Old Colony Hotel
The Old Colony Hotel is a small hotel near downtown Framingham. Framingham MBTA commuters may see the hotel as they drive to the commuter rail parking lot, as it's the last business before the parking lot.
Some online reports claim that the hotel was built around 1885. However, the town of Framingham lists the building as being built in 1900.
50 Year old Murder in Framingham
According to local reports In April 1966, John T. Horning murdered James Barry Sr. at a bar at the Old Colony Hotel. Police said that his motive for the killing was that John wanted to collect money that James owed him. John confronted James in the men's room, a fight broke out and James ended up on the floor with a broken neck.
James Barry Sr., age 66, died a few hours later at a local hospital from the neck wound.
John T. Horning, then 26, was charged with the murder. There is no information on the status of the trial, beyond that the jury visited the hotel to see the crime scene.
Here are some other things that I have learned about the hotel:
Interesting Facts about the Old Colony Hotel
- Built in 1900, but the sign on the hotel says it's established in 1885
- There are 24 bedrooms in the hotel
- The hotel square footage is 11,677 sqf
- The building is worth more than the land. (Building: $1,095,900 and Land: $155,100)
- The Hotel was built across from the railroad depot as a place to people to stay when they arrive to Framingham via rail.
- Was once called the Park Central Hotel and the Park Haven Hotel.
- Apparently the name of the hotel changed between Park Haven and Old Colony over the years.
- A Boston Globe report stated owners of the Old Colony Hotel were going on a cruise in 1920, and then a few years later articles talk about events at the Park Haven Hotel.
- Hotel was own by Frank E. Brooks until his death on July 30, 1926. He left the hotel to his son Frank H Brooks.
- Frank H. Brooks attempted to sell the hotel in an ad in the Boston Globe April 23, 1944.
- There were two fires at the hotel: November 24, 1946 and sometime in 1959.
- The fire in 1946 started at the Grain Elevator next door caused significant damage to the hotel.
- Murder Occurred at the Hotel in 1966, A Middlesex County Superior Court jury visited the hotel on April 25, 1966.
- Hotel went under foreclosure auction on September 21, 1975
The Old Colony Hotel is located at 2 Franklin St, Framingham, MA 01702
|December 29, 2016|
Robin William Bench
In the movie "Good Will Hunting" there is is a scene where Robin Williams and Matt Damon talk on a bench at the Boston Gardens.
In Boston, this is known as the Robin William's bench. Bostonians placed flowers and other memorabilia on the bench when he died on August 11, 2014.
Good Will Hunting
"Some people think they know everything - yet they UNDERSTAND nothing"
November 11, 2016
Someone doing Yoga on the Robin William's bench at the Boston Public Gardens.
Finding the Robin Williams Bench
Robin Williams park bench is located in the Boston Public Gardens, near the George Washington Statue and the Public Garden's Foot Bridge. There is no marker or indicator that this is Robin William's bench.
- From the George Washington Statue, walk toward the Public Garden Foot Bridge.
- Take a left at the first Path.
- Walk down the path until it connects to another path.
- On your right is the Robin Williams Bench.
There are two markers in the stone at the bench. As your facing the bench and look on the ground:
- On the left: "A place for Barbara and her Pups to pause"
- On the Right: "In Memory of Jeffrey A. Guyer "Breath in hope, breathe out love."
|December 30, 2016|
Repair vs InPainting Brush Tool
If you migrating from Pixelmator to Affinity Photo, you might be confused by a common tool: The Repair tool.
Pixelmator's Repair Tool
Pixelmator describes the Repair tool as:
Use the Repair Tool to correct imperfections, causing them to disappear into the surrounding image. The Repair Tool also matches the texture, lighting, transparency, and shading of the sampled pixels to the pixels being repaired. As a result, the repaired pixels blend seamlessly into the rest of the image.
The tool that produces the same effect in Affinity Photo is the InPainting Brush Tool. Some users may get confused because the Affinity Photo used the same bandaid icon for the Healing Brush Tool.
Affinity Photo describes the Inpainting Brush Tool:
The Inpainting Brush Tool restores damaged, lost, deteriorated or unwanted areas of an image.
To access the InPainting Brush Tool in Affinity you can select it from the toolbar or simply by typing the keyboard shortcut:
Tip on using the Tool
When using the tool, it's best to use a smaller brush size, and to zoom into the area. If you use a large brush, you might encounter some unwanted objects replacing the area that you are trying to clean up.
I tested both the Repair Tool in Pixelmator and the InPainting Brush Tool in Affinity Photo and they both produce the same output. I think the InPainting did a better job keeping the wood colors to match in my example.
In this example, I am removing the white words from the sign.
Using the InPainting Brush Tool in Affinity Photo
Using the Repair Tool in Pixelmator
|December 31, 2016|
Nine Predictions for 2009
In 2009, Tom Askacker put together a document for "Nine Predictions for 2009."
This is a parody document of typical outrageous things that people predict that will never happen. Oddly enough all the predictions will hold true for 2017!
Tom Asacker writes, teaches, and speaks about radically new practices and ideas for success in chaotic times. He is an independent brand adviser and author of critically acclaimed books including A Clear Eye for Branding and Sandbox Wisdom, and his latest, A Little Less Conversation. Visit www.tomasacker.com to learn more.
His website has lots of interesting news and views on world events and how you can be inspired to do great things...